'Hidden Child' From World War II Visits Garrison Middle School

Ms. Dalsheim speaking with students (Photo courtesy of GUFS)

 6 years old, Olga Dalsheim saw her family fractured

Only 6 years old, Olga Dalsheim saw her family fractured as they fled to separate locations in Holland to escape the Nazis. Four different families hid her as World War II continued, before she and other family members reunited. They subsequently moved to the United States and she carried on with her life. On Dec. 3, for more than an hour she described her amazing war-time experiences to spellbound Garrison Middle School students.

“We are very grateful to Ms. Dalsheim for taking the time to visit our school and share her incredible story with all of us,” said Garrison School Principal Stephanie Impellittiere. “Our students learned today that history is much more than facts read in books.  Ms. Dalsheim’s visit puts a human face on the suffering so many endured during World War II. This type of teaching opportunity is invaluable.”

This semester, Garrison Middle School students have been immersed in World History for their Social Studies curriculum with teacherMary Foppiano.  In addition, Language Arts teacher Ian Berger recently introduced these students to The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank and Number The Stars by Lois Lowry, a work of historical fiction about the Holocaust. Both books deal with the “hidden children experience.  The teachers agreed that having Ms. Dalsheim discuss her own experiences during World War II with the students helps tie all the pieces of their education together in a meaningful way.

According to reporter Frank J. Prial of The New York Times, “hidden children were Jews who survived the war because they were taken in by friends or neighbors after their own parents had been killed, deported or forced to flee.  Estimates of the number of hidden children vary widely, from 10,000 to 100,000 or even more.”

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